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21 January 2012 @ 07:05 am
Slash Fiction and Human Mating Psychology  
Below is an article on women and slashfic that one of my friends sent me a while back. It was written several years ago (2004), so some aspects of it may be out of date, and the authors are evolutionary psychologists, so that's the perspective they are coming from. I think the article is pure and unrelenting bullshit, but I thought I would share it anyway, since it seemed appropriate for this comm. You will most likely either find it hilarious or infuriating. Possibly both.

Slash Fiction and Human Mating Psychology

Some of the more bizarre assertions made by the authors:

"One hypothesis that might account for the existence of slash is simply that the women who write and read this erotic subgenre are, in some yet-to-be-determined way, psychosexually unusual--analogous, for example, to male paraphiliacs."

"While slash fans produce a great deal of slash-related artwork, it is unabashedly romantic, very much in the vein of romance novel cover art. It may depict nudity, but it almost never depicts penetration."

"In describing their characters, slash writers are to some extent constrained by the physical traits of the actors who play the roles in the series being slashed, but poetic license regularly enables the main POV character to be "feminized": that is, to be portrayed as the smaller of the two, physically weaker, lighter in coloring, more seductive, more in touch with his emotions, and quicker to perceive the development of mutual love."

From the sound of it, they did not actually talk to any slash fans before writing their article. What they did was browse a couple of web archives, and conducted a survey of 22 romance novel fans after they had read a (published) gay romance novel.

This article was also expanded into a book entitled Warrior Lovers: Erotic Fiction, Evolution, and Female Sexuality. It's available for free at the link, and has gotten some rave reviews. If you can stomach 100 pages of this sort of BS, consider writing a review to balance the others.
Current Location: Seattle, WA
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
kita_malicekita_malice on January 21st, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I remember that one from when it made it's round on metafandom back in the day.
Jess: Phoenix on phoneaphephobia on January 23rd, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
Same here. A number of pissed off female slash fans then wrote slashfic about the "researchers" (who actually had no credentials to begin with).

I didn't know they actually got the deal. I heard through someone that their publisher dropped it like a hotcake when it was revealed that one of them fraudulently claimed to have gone to an Ivy League university.
korekorenap on January 21st, 2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
The excerpts were enough to convince me to stick to reading fic. Though as a femslash lover and reader in a fandom that is mostly het women writing slash, I find the slim volume of femslash more telling. When they venture into femslash have the characters use an appliance. The only explicit het sex one writer wrote was a het woman ( who strongly subtexted lesbian) strapping one on to have at it with a gay man.

While the slash stories run the gamut from romantic to abusive, consensual to non con, the femslash is almost never romantic. I can only think of one that was and it ended with one of the pairing being killed. And yes, the use of a dildo is linked to power more than pleasure. Woman was texted/subtexted bi or lesbian do not get happy endings. The women are generally depicted as using each other for sex or seeing to some dark desperate situational need.

Pica Scribit: Slytherin - Madeleine Yaxleypica_scribit on January 21st, 2012 10:16 pm (UTC)
Femslash isn't really my thing (and good lord, I would love to have a discussion here on the reasons why it doesn't get the webspace that slash and het enjoy), but I have seen some romantic femslash stories in the Harry Potter fandom that did not involve dildos or end in death. Maybe it varies by fandom?
korekorenap on January 22nd, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
I'm talking about femslash that I know is written by women who usually write slash. The community which I spoke of is het women in writing predominantly het and slash. It's a community where gender and sexuality are known because of meeting at conventions. So I feel comfortable making the statement above.

Lesbians write romantic femslash all the time as do many bi women. Lesbians however, rarely write slash, and it is usually romantic. (though people into BDSM tend to put that content above gender) Many men write romantic femslash, much like women writing slash. I know a femslash community started by lesbians, that is being kept alive by mostly men who lean so heavily toward romance that there is very little mature content regularly posted, (except by the active lesbian writer).

On the flip side, Femslash with a high level of violence or which romanticizes non con often has tells letting you know it's a man. As for Harry Potter- it has some of the most horrific glorified violence, non con and not even remotely playful BDSM found in femslash. Some does deal with the complexity of abuse and healing from it to create romance, but much labeled romance just isn't. Potter lets you magically heal wounds and bring women( or underage Hermione) back from the brink of death. The more violent work has male fantasy tells featured in porn and the anatomically impossible or inaccurate, I like to think the writers aren't women. Though I agree with a previous post, that the comments are usually scarier. If a femslash story on a site like FF.net has a lot of comment despite being poorly written, I've noticed it features highly objectified women and violence against them.

Jess: Franziska w/ whipaphephobia on January 23rd, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
Um, in my fandom, we often (as often as we get femmeslash, which sadly isn't as much as it could be) get really sweet femmeslash without the weird power issues. And happy endings! And sometimes just hot smutty (and completely consensual) sexytimes. Seriously, Franziska (in my icon)/Adrian (yes, Adrian is female despite the apparently male name) is a fairly popular pairing, and people like the romance there. :)

It's sad: there are a heap of awesome female characters in said fandom, and there are plenty of subtexty moments. ("Intellectually attracted to her"? Yeah, right.)